Thank you for visiting The

Rodley Nature Reserve website.

Rodley Nature Reserve is designed to bring wetland wildlife back into the Leeds area.


About Us

Situated just four miles from the centre of Leeds, Rodley Nature Reserve is different to most wetland reserves in that the wetlands were all dug out from scratch from rough grassland close to the River Aire. When Yorkshire Water plc decomissioned the Rodley Water Treatment Works in 1993 it was with a wish that their land should be developed as a nature reserve. The land is situated in the Aire valley, an important flyway for migrating birds.

Rodley Nature Reserve Trust is a registered charity run by a board of trustees. The Trust’s objectives are the care and management of the land as a nature reserve by habitat management for wildlife, in particular the wildlife of wetland habitats and the education of the public in the understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of wildlife.

There are no paid staff at Rodley. Volunteers work on habitat management, the manning of the Visitor Centre and looking after school and other visits. Managing such a large area requires a good deal of manpower and money and we are grateful to the generosity of the public, the fundraising activities of the Friends of Rodley Nature Reserve and the income generated from our participation in the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, one of the government’s agri-environment schemes, which collectively enable us to maintain and continue to improve this beautiful green space for people and wildlife alike. We are also grateful for the continuing support of Yorkshire Water PLC who own the land.

A recognised ‘Flyway’ for wildfowl and waders on migration.


Three Hundred and Sixty-One

The number of species of moth recorded on the Reserve.

Nine Hundred and Ten

The number of primary school children who enjoyed the Rodley experience in 2015.

Eight Thousand Seven Hundred and Nine

The number of bird records submitted in 2015.

Yorkshire Water PLC decommission the water treatment works at Rodley1993


Rodley Nature Reserve registered as a charity and a 60 year lease with Yorkshire Water plc finalised on the same date.August 1998


Work commenced on digging out the four main wetland areasMay 1999

1-lagoon-being-dug-May--1999

First open day for visitors heldOctober 1999


The reserve opens to the public on Saturdays and Sundays in the summer monthsJune 2000


Michael Meacher, Minister for the Environment, officially opens the Reserve28 July 2000

2 Michael Meacher opens reserve July 2000

The Friends of Rodley Nature Reserve is establishedNovember 2000


The first Dragonfly Ponds dug and shapedApril and May 2004

3 First DFponds dug Apr May 2004

Wet Grassland Hide and ramp constructedAugust 2007

4-Wet-Grassland-hide-and-ramp-constructed-August-2007

Education Pond used by a school group for the first timeJune 2008

5-Education-pond-completed-June-2008

Two hides on the Willow Path destroyed by vandals in an arson attackSeptember 2009

6-Hide-destroyed-by-vandals-Sept-2009

A new hide - the Mike Sheldon Hide - constructed overlooking the Lagoon with a wheelchair friendly rampSeptember 2009

7-Mike-Sheldon-hide-and-ramp-constructed-Sept-2009

Two new steel hides installed on the Willow Path to replace those destroyed in September 2009February 2010

8-Installation-of-new-Duck-Marsh-Hide-Feb-2010

The reserve is admitted to the government's Higher Level Stewardship SchemeApril 2010


Extension to Visitor Centre completed. Second dipping pond completed but kept closed throughout the year to allow it to establishMarch 2011

10-2nd-dipping-pond-completed-March-2011

Wheelchair ramp to the picnic area constructed. Major refurbishment of kitchen area in the Visitor Centre.October 2011

11-Wheelchair-ramp-to-picnic-area-constructed-Oct-2011

Work on Fish Pass finished.December 2012

12-Fish-Pass-finished-December-2012

First guided walk to the Fish Pass for the public.September 2013


Sand Martin Bank Project completed on LagoonFebruary 2014

13-Sand-Martin-Bank-project-completed-Feb-2014

Work completed on continuation of hard path from Willow Path Hide to Reedbed Hide.June 2014

8-Willow-Path-new-hide-Feb-2010

Thatched gazebo constructed.November 2014

14-Thatched-Gazebo-constructed-Nov-2014

The Poplar Field and Poplar Carr are added to the land managed by the Reserve.March 2015

15-Poplar-Field-added-to-land-managed-by-reserve-March-2015

The Boxing Day Flood. Following 24 hours of continuous rain the river burst its banks, flooding much of the Reserve. Hedges were ripped out and the Dragonfly Ponds and Education Pond badly damaged. Thanks to an army of volunteers the Reserve was able to re-open on 6th January.December 2015

P1240069 reedbed hide and Tim's timeline smaller image 3

Poplar Field - the planting of 375 trees is completed and shrub planting (470) is startedFebruary 2016

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The new purpose built Lagoon and Reedbed Hides are opened to the public.May 2016

P1020976 new lagoon hide resized 300px

Rodley Robins - the new Saturday morning club for children holds its inaugural meeting.May 2016

P1090494 robins members having completed their bug hotels resized 300px

The first Leeds Birdfair takes place on the Reserve.June 2016

P1080557 birdfair general view resized 300px

Harvest Mouse Release Programme - a new release site is prepared on the Scrubland and the first release of 63 mice takes place.June 2016

P1030824 new harvest mice pens resized 300px

Reedbed - contractors are employed to dig out a large amount of reed from the Reedbed to keep the waterbodies open.December 2016

P1180186 reedbed 25th dec after cutting resized 300px